Conor Murray remains huge doubt for Munster’s Champions Cup semi-final
Back-rower CJ Stander, and centre Rory Scannell may return for the clash
Munster Rugby scrum-half Conor Murray is a big doubt for his team’s European Rugby Champions Cup semi-final with Saracens.
Rassie Erasmus’ men host the defending champions at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, but are likely to be without Murray who is one of their most important players.
Murray suffered a shoulder injury on Six Nations duty with Ireland against Wales last month and hasn’t been since. The problem has caused him some concern and he looks set to miss this weekend.
Munster director of rugby Erasmus said: “I think Conor is definitely a doubt. We’ll give him as long as we can, but I’m fairly confident he won’t make a surprise return this weekend.
“It’s becoming a bit of a worry now and he must start thinking about the bigger things that will still happen this season, including the Lions tour if he makes that squad.
“It’s just a stinger and it injured the nerve a little bit. It’s a waiting game. Rory Scannell had it last year and it took four or five weeks. Conor is going into his sixth or seventh week.
“As frustrating as it is for everybody, it must be annoying for him because he’s the kind of guy that wants to play in every game, never mind a semi-final or quarter-final. We’ll make the right decision.
“He’s got a long future ahead of him but apart from him, the squad isn’t looking too bad.”
While it’s bad news on Murray, there is better news for Erasmus on some of his other key men.
Back-row forward CJ Stander will return to training this week after injuring his ankle in the comprehensive quarter-final win over Toulouse.
“I don’t think Rory will be out this weekend, I think he will have a good chance,” Erasmus said. “I think Jaco Taute might be back, I think CJ Stander might be available.
“I think Darren Sweetnam will be able to play after that head knock. I think he’ll make it before Saturday.”
Whoever wins between Munster and Saracens will face either ASM Clermont Auvergne or Leinster Rugby in the Champions Cup final at Murrayfield next month.